Big Wig: A Little History of Hair

Big Wig: A Little History of Hair

by Kathleen Krull, Peter Malone
     
 

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History has never been hairier.

Did you know that kings AND queens wore fake beards in Ancient Egypt? Or that hair was used in medicine at the height of the Incan Empire? Or that Queen Elizabeth I had more than 80 wigs in various shades of red? Kathleen Krull and Peter Malone start at the dawn of history and bring us up to contemporary times, using incredible

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Overview


History has never been hairier.

Did you know that kings AND queens wore fake beards in Ancient Egypt? Or that hair was used in medicine at the height of the Incan Empire? Or that Queen Elizabeth I had more than 80 wigs in various shades of red? Kathleen Krull and Peter Malone start at the dawn of history and bring us up to contemporary times, using incredible bits and bobs of hair fact and lore to show us just how much things have changed (and how they haven't!).
This is a perfect way to introduce young readers to the idea of a longitudinal study. And it's also an irreverant and playful look at what funny fashion victims we humans have always been!
Deserves a permanent spot on every bookshelf. (Get it?)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2�4—From early humans to the British punks of the 1970s and many stops in between, Krull teases readers with intriguing, humorous facts about hair and grooming. The picture-book format is perfectly suited to impart just the right amount of information that children will find both entertaining and riveting. The author describes how the ancient Maya used boards to flatten and elongate the heads of infants and then tied beads in front of their eyes to encourage crossing them, and how the women of Marie Antoinette's era created elaborate dioramas on top of their heads that sometimes lasted for months. Wigs, horse-grooming techniques, and a multitude of ingredients, both edible and repulsive, all make appearances in the pages. It is clear that the fascination with hair is certainly not a modern trend, but one that has been around since humans had hair on top of their heads. The muted pastel-colored gouache paintings are whimsical and delightful, depicting scenarios such as Hippocrates and Aristotle arguing over the merits of various cures for baldness and a woman using a vacuum cleaner as a hair dryer, which will surely bring out the giggles. Notes at the end extend the facts and provide yet more tantalizing strands of information.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Children's Literature - Sherryn Craig
Ever wonder where the terms "big wig," "rats nest," or "powder room" come from? Readers will find the answers in this beautifully illustrated history of hair. Quirky and playful, this picture book relates obscure facts about hair, including the products, colors, and cuts used to style it. The illustrations are windows to the places, periods, and people in history as well as the fashions of the day. With passport in hand, readers can travel around the world, visiting ancient civilizations, faraway empires, and indigenous tribes. There are familiar Heads of Hair, including Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette, and George Washington. Beyond the fashion, the book briefly touches on issues of class and social status associated with one's hair. Unfortunately, the hairdos from the twentieth century are not as colorful and multidimensional. The pop icons used to illustrate them are interesting (e.g., the Supremes, the Beatles, and Dorothy Hamill), but there are equally compelling styles (i.e., bob, pixie, shag), subcultures (i.e., flappers, greasers, grunge), and icons (i.e., Elvis, Bob Marley) which fail to make the cut. Furthermore, while the author makes reference to the socio-economic status of prior dos, no mention is made of their socio-political context, an unfortunate shortcoming for a period defined by its social movements. Given the age groups for which this book is targeted, readers will still enjoy the stories and the well-coiffed pictures that accompany them. Reviewer: Sherryn Craig

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439676403
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
08/01/2011
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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